Residents of Racecourse View in Lyndhurst plan petition to stop A337 rat-run
RESIDENTS tired of motorists using roads in Lyndhurst as rat-runs are to gather a petition asking Hampshire Council Council to take action.
The plan emerged at a meeting of the parish council in which residents spoke at length about the problems faced in many areas of the village.
Villager Tina Simmonds said she spoke on behalf of many residents who had reported a huge increase in vehicles leaving the A337 and using residential roads to bypass the queues before rejoining further along the route.
She pointed to problem roads and areas including Racecourse View, Goose Green, Wellands Road and Emery Down, as well as Clarence Road, Pemberton Road and The Custards.
Ms Simmonds said the narrow residential roads were being reduced in width even further by people parking their cars, which made the number of vehicles speeding through even more dangerous for pedestrians.
An increase in vehicles had caused sinkholes, she added, and a resident had recently fallen in one.
She said: "Drivers will intimidate pedestrians, and often they get a torrent of abuse from motorists. Elderly residents have to choose their moments to go out [and] people are at constant risk of injury.
"Residents have put up with this issue for 20 years but the catalyst has now been reached."
She asked for support from the parish council and Cllr Edward Heron, who is HCC's representative for the area, to solve the issue.
When asked what residents would support, she said a no-entry restriction on Racecourse View would improve the situation "instantly".
However, Cllr Heron told the meeting the situation was not dangerous enough for cash to be committed by HCC, which is currently planning spending cuts of £80m amid reduced government funding.
He explained: "As a general rule, we have to prioritise the road safety budget and we have criteria for that – we invest in areas which are the most dangerous, which have seen serious incidents or deaths.
"The practicalities are, with the limited budget, we don't get out of that first list to look at other areas of community concern. Because there have been no casualties, it would be unlikely to get funding."
He said the next steps would be for residents to gather a petition to submit to HCC, which would then carry out data monitoring.
But he added: "There is real concern that if you do something to one area, then you could significantly alter the traffic flow of other roads. It is not going to be easy thing to deliver and I make no promises."
Cllr Adrian Wiltshire told the meeting that changing the phasing of the traffic lights at the top of the High Street might help traffic flow better and stop motorists cutting through residential roads.
He said: "It is certainly not a cure, but I think the sequencing of the lights could help. When it is the New Forest Show, we don't get these issues."
As reported in the A&T, the county council has outlined three ways to improve pedestrian safety in the other parts of the village, with the most expensive being the creation of a new footway from Chapel Lane to Shrubbs Hill Road costing £23,000. Bollards could be added to the edge of a crossing point on the A35 at Goose Green, as well as new signage, at a cost of £4,000.
A further £3,000 could be spent on road markings on the north side of Goose Green to slow vehicles by creating a narrower, single-lane carriageway on the approach to the Chapel Lane/Shrubbs Hill Lane junction.
However, HCC warned residents would have to find ways to fund the schemes themselves.
Cllr Hilary Brand, who is the district councillor for the area, told the meeting she was still looking into possible grants for the work.